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Thread: Parent(s) ashes

  1. #1
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    Parent(s) ashes

    My brother is arriving here in three days and last night sent an email that he wants to scatter my dad's ashes while he is here. He claims that this should be done within a year of his death, to be "proper: and that he intends to do it in a "nice way" and proposes we toss Dad out to sea. (A couple of weeks ago he proposed we get rid of Mom and Dad's ashes together, conveniently forgetting Mom wasn't dead yet.) He also announced he plans to throw my grandparents ashes into a stream out where he lives, "unless one of us wants them."
    (He took off with their ashes a couple of years ago, and made no arrangements for them, even though I have wanted for years to get them interred in a columbarium.)

    Dad told me that he wanted to be spread in a flower garden on consecrated ground. Not easily arranged, as I have looked.

    I am so fed up with this guy--he also sent me emails about two large estate problems that he expected me to handle, and I said no way, not my responsibility, I don't have time, and now I am being treated by him and other brother as though I am nuclear.

    If you object to anything this guy does, it's an all out assault from him, my other brother, and his legal team that he hired, over my objections, and now he calls them "the family attorneys."

    I am so stressed right now, awaiting surgeon consult about my stomach, so dreading see him. My husband told me yesterday he does not want to see this guy when he comes to town. I don't blame him.

    What would you do about the ash situation? Just writing that makes me cry and my stomach turn. "The ash situation." I have just spent a week processing papers that he was going to throw out, family documents and it's been like hearing their voice from beyond the grave--they say things like, "My executor should, etc." and "My wishes are."

    So I guess I am grappling with what I owe to the dead, vs. dealing with this team of people assembled by this guy to get his own wayand sanctioned by the court, etc. It is breaking my heart.

    Any ideas on how to handle this crisis du jour? Cannot wait til this is out of my life.

    He is going to see Mom for the first time in 2.5 years.

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Can you do a nice memorial ceremony as a family, and then do a King Solomon thing and split the ashes among the family members? Or will they fight about that, too, and insist you get a scale and weigh the ashes?

    Also, what is "consecrated ground"? The reason I ask is, couldn't you just go to that place and scatter the ashes without telling anyone? When my mother was cremated, we threw her ashes into the Long Island Sound, per her wishes. It was against the law, but conveniently there was a pier that was hidden from sight on the southern side, and so after the memorial service, just my brothers and I went behind the pier and let the ashes go.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Ugh Tybee. That is so awful that your brother is like that. Funny (not) how he rewrites the rules to suit himself. I've never heard this "proper" rule, sounds like something he made up.

    I like Catherine's idea of splitting the ashes. But if he's not amenable to that, I'm sure your dead family members would not want to be causing trouble, and would want you to preserve your own mental health, however is best to accomplish that. Even if you can't follow their wishes.

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    I agree with Herbgeek. However, I do think your husband should at least act as go between because of your health issues. Or simply tell your brother(s) that health prevents you from meeting. Blame Covid if you have to. There is almost nothing that needs a personal visit. Even signatures can be done via mail or email.

    You can take comfort in knowing you will do "what you can" under the circumstances. I am so sorry you have to go thru this.

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    Thanks guys, these are really good things to think about. I am contemplating getting the covid booster on Sunday, as when I had the shots I was laid up for a week.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    The only thing you “owe” the dead is to make sure your brother knows your father’s wishes. If your brother chooses to ignore those wishes, that is on him. Your dad made him executor and your dad, in his spiritual state, reaps those consequences. And really, your father’s wish about “consecrated ground” wasn't realistic, apparently.

    I agree about splitting ashes. If I could get a small handful of the ashes I would quietly scatter them on appropriate garden space. No one would know and that does not hurt anything.

    I wouldn't meet with the brother if I didnt have to. I really like sweetana’s take on it, ask your husband to serve as neutral go-between if there must be a meeting for business to be conducted.

    I assume your brother holds the container of your father’s ashes, though, so it isnt easy to get a partial set of ashes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear this. I wouldn’t meet with him. Use health issues if you wish.

  8. #8
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    Everyone has offered really good advise. I agree with the splitting the ashes, but if that proves impossible, maybe just let it go. If there is something of importance to you in all of this, then definitely fight for it, but if not, again I would suggest to just let it all go. You still have your memories and that is more personal than any "thing" may be. It's also important that you do what you must for your own health and well-being. You have surgery you are prepping for and that should take precedence! Prayers to you.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  9. #9
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Hoping your surgery goes well and I agree with the others. Also who forgets that their mother isn’t dead yet. What a total jerk!

  10. #10
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    For me fighting to have my fatherís wishes followed regarding his ashes wouldnt be hill that I would (metaphorically) die on. Iíd suggest dividing them but relent if I got any pushback. But thatís me. If itís important to you I agree with avoiding a meeting with brother using health as your reason (obviously avoiding potential covid due to your pending surgery is a valid reason) and asking DH to mediate.

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